Dharamsala, June 18 : Tibetan Buddhists on Wednesday celebrated "Saka Dawa", one of their most important festivals.
The festival has a special significance for the followers of Lord Buddha as all three stages of his life -- birth, enlightenment and death - are witnessed in the period known as Saka Dawa.
These three events form the key to Buddha's life and the day therefore is of great significance to the followers of the religion.
According to the Tibetan calendar, Saka Dawa is celebrated on the 15th day of the fourth lunar month. Tibetan monks, nuns, tourists and residents in Dharamsala, headquarters of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, flocked to the town's main Tibetan monastery to celebrate the festival.
"During this period we believe that if you act good and virtue things it will multiply in thousands and therefore this day monks offer prayers and give alms to poor," said Sonam, a Tibetan Monk.
The celebration, which began with morning prayers, involved the taking of vows from the Eight Mahayana precepts, which are not to kill any living being, not to steal and not to lie.
"We just give money to beggars, don't eat meat and we do all the good things that we could do and we also go to temple for prayers," said Neema a Tibetan girl.
Devotees lights lamps, candles and incense sticks before a huge statue of Lord Buddha.
On the holy day devotees do pious deeds and distribute food and alms to beggars.
It is believed that good deeds in this month are rewarded 300 folds and so the sight of people donating money and food is not uncommon.